NAA: Attendance awful, quality great

Posted by on Mar 9, 2009 in Strategy

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            LAS VEGAS — Attendance at the Newspaper Association of America MediaXchange conference is awful, especially on the trade-show floor. In light of the economy, especially at newspapers, that’s no surprise. But the amazing thing is, vendors are happy. Every exhibitor I talked to said essentially the same thing: “The quantity may be bad, but the quality is excellent. And that makes up for it.”
            I’m an example. By 11 a.m. on the first day — mind you, the show only started at 10 a.m., but my first meeting was at 7 — I felt like I’d more than covered my cost of coming out here. It was worthwhile. Already.

            The sessions were pretty well attended, and a lot of the content was pretty strong. More about some of them later.

            The conference was a combination of the NAA’s Nexpo technology conference and trade show and its marketing, new-media, classifieds and research conferences. Holding separate conferences became untenable because of the contraction of the newspaper industry. So the NAA put them together. And then the collapse came, making it difficult to even get a good turnout for the combined show. But on balance, the NAA pulled it off. At a very tough time. So while attendance looks grim, the right people came and the right people had the right conversations. “A lot” of people might have been better, but this was more than good enough.


Written by Peter M. Zollman

Peter M. Zollman brings more than 35 years of media experience to his role as founding principal of the AIM Group / Classified Intelligence Report. He has worked with a wide range of media companies, dot-coms, technology providers and start-ups to develop and expand successful interactive-media services. He is based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., near Orlando.